Want a book blurb from Margaret Atwood? Expect a poem instead. Atwood has retired from the blurbing business and now declines in rhyming verse. “But now I am aging; my brain is all shrunk,/And my adjective store is depleted;/My hair’s getting stringy, I walk as though drunk;/ As a quotester I’m nigh-on defeated.” Pair with our essays on the blurbing blunder: a history of blurbs, blurbs as publicity stunts, and the fundamental question — to blurb or not to blurb?
Stanford "will rerelease a collection of Arthur Conan Doyle's tales of Sherlock Holmes, just as they were originally printed and illustrated in The Strand Magazine."Maciej Ceglowski suggests that Milan Kundera "is the Dave Matthews of Slavic letters, a talented hack, certainly a hack who's paid his dues, but a hack nonetheless." And offers up a number of Eastern European books that young lovers might give to one another instead of The Unbearable Lightness of Being.Google Print has been renamed Google Book Search. "Why the change? Well, one factor was all the comments we got about how excited people were that Google Print would help them print out their documents, or web pages they visit -- which of course it won't."
“Most writers … don’t ask questions of a journalist,” writes How to Read a Novelist author John Freeman. But what of those that do? Over the course of a fifteen year career, Freeman has found that “what the novelists asked of me told me [a great deal] about them,” and that a big problem with the standard format for author interviews, after all, is that “the conventions of the interview deprive us of one thing a novelist does quite a bit, which is ask questions.” (Bonus: Freeman will be in conversation with Jennifer Egan Thursday night at McNally Jackson.)
While East Coasters are still dealing with the wrath of Hurricane Irene, the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina passed yesterday. NPR has a timely interview with host Michel Martin, musician Irvin Mayfield and Keith Spera, author of Groove Interrupted: Loss, Renewal and the Music of New Orleans. Likewise, Rivka Galchen's 2009 Harper's essay "Disaster Aversion" bears re-reading.